CHICAGO — The Bears pulled a fast one at Saturday's anticipated Game 4 preseason matchup with Kansas City when coach Matt Nagy rested his starters.
All of them.
In football, they call that a chop block.
Kansas City did play its starters — in the first half.
The Bears sent a late notice to some Chicago media Friday regarding Nagy's decision, which might've explained the small Soldier Field crowd — 17,456 no-shows — on an otherwise gorgeous afternoon.
It didn't stop the Bears from introducing their regular starters, one by one, during the pregame fireworks.
But from the opening kick, it was all backups and bubble players.
No Mitch Trubisky, Allen Robinson II, Josh Bellamy, Anthony Miller, Prince Amukamara, Kyle Fuller, Tarik Cohen, Adrian Amos, Eddie Jackson, Danny Trevathan, Akeem Hicks, Sam Acho, Kyle Long, Eddie Goldman, Bobby Massie, Dion Sims, Trey Burton or Cody Whitehair.
Also not starting — the pregame inflatable bear.
In all, Nagy held out 30 players.
This was supposed to be the most important preseason game of the five, certainly not Thursday night's meaningless wrap-up with Buffalo.
Fans were hoping to see how much progress second-year messiah Mitch Trubisky has made at quarterback.
He had a so-so rookie campaign with seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 59 percent completion rate — but hasn't exactly wowed 'em in his three preseason appearances and, with new and better receivers, is still developing a chemistry with them.
Bears' fans must be thinking Nagy, his staff and management are more concerned with Trubisky's health than his development.
And that is worrisome.
After Saturday's 27-20 win, Nagy knew what to expect and rambled on while answering questions.
He said Bears' training camp began much earlier with the Aug. 2 Hall of Fame game and emphasized they've had several "awesome" and physical practices between each preseason game.
"There's a lot of times where guys are flying around and giving everything they've got," Nagy noted. "The rest has helped. I want our guys to be healthy and ready to go for that Week 1 Packers game and that's as simple as it gets."
He said the starters didn't know they'd be watching from the sideline until late Friday. Chiefs coach and close friend Andy Reid was the first person Nagy notified about the lineup change.
But what about Trubisky? He's certainly no finished product, having completed 11-of-18 passes for 94 yards, one TD, one pick and a 70.1 QB rating in two exhibition games.
His shaky training camp was clouded by mistakes and interceptions.
"I hear it, but I'm in no rush right now regarding where we're at," Nagy countered. "We're at almost 2,000 snaps at practice and for somebody to tell me that 25-30 (game) reps is going to make him a better player in Week 1, 2 and 3 ... it's not going to happen. We already get quality reps in practice.
"I understand what people say, but for me, I need to do what's best for our team and the fans."
Winning, of course.
The backups and bubble Bears did their thing Saturday as Chase Daniel threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns, Javon Wims caught four passes for 114 yards and a score, Kevin White had a 29-yard TD grab, and the hosts rushed for 141 yards.
The first week of training camp, Nagy said he wanted his Bears to become "calloused" but limiting starters to real-time action seems to contradict that.
"I think we have become calloused. We've had live practices. We've had some grueling practices against Denver, some live reps in our past couple of preseason games. If you remember, I told you we'd be calloused, but we'd be smarter, too."
Nagy assured us this starter issue won't be a trend.
"It's about this year. Right now. Yeah, it could be different next year if we have four games," he said.
After four straight seasons of 10 losses or more, you can only hope this new head coach has a firm grip on the wheel up at Halas Hall.